Demelza & The Spectre Detectors

Written by Holly Rivers, Illustrated by Alex T Smith, Published by Chicken House

This is a hotly anticipated MG book and I am so thrilled to have read it and be part of the blog tour. Holly Rivers has shared some information about she builds a scrapbook of interesting pictures that help her to create her story. Incredible photos from her scrapbook have been shared today as well!

Scrapbooking a Story

by Holly Rivers

It’s fascinating how differently us writers approach our craft.  Some writers are plotters — those whomake a detailed plan before they start drafting, and stick to it rigorously without much room for change. Then, on the other end of the spectrum there are pantsters — people who write by ‘the seat of their pants’ and revel in the flexibility of not knowing what might happen next.

I, however, would describe myself as…a scrapbooker!

Like my inventor protagonist Demelza, I’m a really visual thinker, and my brain relies heavily on pictures, images and doodles. So for every writing project that I start, I make an Inspiration Scrapbook to generate ideas and aid me on my journey. 

Whether you’re writing a middle-grade adventure, a YA horror, or a fantastical chapter book, scrapbooking is liberating, fun and massively freeing for the imagination. I find it allows me to visualise my characters and locations really clearly before I start drafting, and it also helps me establish the specific tone or mood I want to convey in my writing. Anything and everything can go into a scrapbook: pictures from newspapers, magazine cuttings, maps, postcards, dried flowers, scraps of fabric, buttons, photographs, stamps, train tickets…even sweet wrappers.

When I sit down to write, I like to have my scrapbooks open by my side, and allow their pages to guide me from chapter to chapter. For example, a piece of vintage wallpaper might inspire the decor in a protagonists attic bedroom; an old photograph might rouse a mysterious piece of backstory; an interesting obituary in a newspaper might motivate a new plot point; and an unusually pigmented paint-swatch might lead to a description of a stormy sky. Each treasure that I stick in my scrapbook helps me to build a richer picture of the story I’m working on, and allows me to engage on a really tactile level with the world I’m trying to build.

So here are a few cherished pages from the scrapbooks I created for Demelza and the Spectre Detectors, which I hope will inspire you to get out your scissors and pritt-stick, and start scrapbooking your stories too.

A huge thank you to Holly Rivers for providing this piece and for the inspiration to get scrapbooking. I especially love the photo labelled Grandma Maeve!

Thank you to Laura Smythe and Chicken House for the book to read and the opportunity to be part of the blog tour!

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